Niccolo, Renata and Filippo were the perfect hosts. My family and I planned our Italian vacation for over a year paying close attention to detail on every part of our trip. Our stay was magical. Every part of the property was finely manicured, and we felt as though we were staying with friends. We never heard the word “no” instead there was a solution or recommendation for each and every one of our countless questions. The food was delicious and the presentation superior. Breakfast overlooking the landscape, movies in the entertainment room, relaxing by the pool, tomato picking in the garden, the sweet smell of lavendar when we woke, horseback riding through castles, traditional Tuscan meals, and the most amazing birthday party were just some of the highlights. We were truly impressed!.

Dear Niccolo and Renata,

Two weeks ago, we have lived a unique moment at the Borgo San Fedele. The time has stopped for 3 days to allow us to enjoy this moment with our guests and you. We have the feeling that the guests have also spend a lovely week-end, full of emotion, joy and tears … Luckily, the weather was great too. Everything has combined to offer us the perfect wedding.

We really wanted to thank you again for your support through the organization of such event. Your help was very precious and we know that even during the wedding you were incredibly helpful in many matters.

Our wedding was better than we have imagined, for us and for our guests. And you are a big part of this success.

I remember in August last year, on the terrace the first discussion about the organization. I remember you talking about the magic of the Borgo. You gave us what you promised. Thank you.

Tuscany is a wonderful place. And you, Renata, Niccolo and Filipo will have a special place in our heart. And the Borgo San Fedele will be a very unique place for us. We will remember you and the Borgo for ever.

You can be sure that we will come back sometimes to enjoy the Borgo again.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

With kind regards

Your friends, Sandrine and Damien

Ciao Nicolò,

Life is treating me well except for the fact that I am no longer waking up and spending my days in Tuscany and enjoying the fantastic hospitality, great food, wonderful wine and beautiful country with you and your family and friends and Andrea.

I can honestly tell you that the time we spent in Italy at San Fedele was the most wonderful time I have spent in the last 30 years or so.  I also have a great number of special memories of all the experiences that we had.  I am counting the days until we can arrange to return to San Fedele.  Hardly a day goes by that Ginger and I don’t say to each other what a great time we had and how much we want to return again and again.  As a matter of fact, last night Ginger fell asleep for a short while and when she woke up she mentioned she was dreaming of being back in Tuscany.  I fell asleep shortly after that and I also dreamed of being back at San Fedele.  We both now have a special connection with Tuscany and thank you, Renata, and Andrea for giving us this special connection.  There is definately something magical and special about San Fedele.Thank you so much for writing and for being a friend that has brought so much to our life.  Until we can return again, we will at least be with you in spirit and thought.

We send our love,

Scott and Ginger


One of the many great remembrances of our visit to San Fedele were the sayings of the day that you shared with us at breakfast.  I saw a saying today that made me immediately think of you and San Fedele.  It comes from an American poet and physician William Carlos Williams and states as follows:

“One thing I am convinced more and more is true and that is this:  The only way to be truly happy is to make others happy.  When you realize that and take advantage of the fact, everything is made perfect.”

When we remember how happy you and Renata made us during our visit, you must truly both be very happy people.

We are raising our virtual wine glasses to both of you and wish you both continued happiness!


Scott and Ginger

Hello Renata, Nicolo, Michael, John and Andrea too!

I’m a little late in doing this, but had to let you know what an incredible experience I had there while attending Dale Laitinen’s workshop.  I fell in love with San Fedele,  but YOU made the stay so memorable.  The time with you there far surpassed my expectations, and believe you me, my expectations were high!  And I know the ladies I was with felt exactly the same.
Renata, your breakfasts were wonderful and those gluten free pastries were out of this world! (Barbara shared some with us).  And then you went out of your way to prepare Susanna’s eggs as she liked them, how special, how kind of you.
Andrea, you didn’t know it, but this old lady had a bit of a crush on you….yeah, I did. It was the passion you had for what you do, your wonderful sense of humor and that little twinkle in your eyes.  And then, the fantastic food you prepared – that didn’t hurt either. Yep, had I only been about 30 years younger……… (smile).
Michael and John, how great you guys were – so fun, so helpful, so informative and SO talented!  I loved listening to your stories at the dinner table or on our drives and then when you sang……WOW!
Nicolo, you were so kind and SO knowlegeable. But your story and video of you and Renata’s love for and fantastic San Fedele journey will forever be remembered. And then there was you taking us to Florence and waiting for us to visit San Gimignano,  then getting a “special”  taxi for us in Florence and even making sure we were charged fairly – that was all above and beyond. It is understandable why you and Renata have found a very special place in the hearts of the wonderful people who are your neighbors and because of that they opened some beautiful doors for us  – afterall, we were with you!
Thank you, thank you! I wish you continued and even greater success in the Tuscan Renaissance Center, but let me say that as far as I am concerned what you give back to your guests money doesn’t buy!
Sharon Hogan

There are unexpected things that happen in life that you never forget because they are magical; almost always they revolve around people.  It happened to us at the Tuscan Renaissance Center last week.  The beautiful soothing atmosphere seeped into your pores day by day.  There is something special about this piece of ground and what it does to those who are fortunate to be on it for a short period of time.  As if this were not enough, we were all treated like kings and queens by some of the best people on the planet.

Nicolo, Renata & Filippo welcomed us with open arms and captured our hearts immediately.  We were enchanted by the presentation Nicolo made on the transformation of the property.  We thoroughly enjoyed working with and really getting to know Dale Laitinen, Jeri’s painting instructor.  He is an amazing artist and a wonderful teacher.  And then there was the dynamic duo of Michelino and John.  They helped us, made us laugh, made us cry and entertained us on a daily basis.  They enhanced our experience with their genuine caring, local knowledge and immense talents.  All questions were answered immediately and always in a professional manner.  In addition there were a host of people in the background keeping everything perfect.  Oh, and did we even mention the food?  The talents of Renata and Andrea (who taught us how to eat) are legendary.  They prepared divine meals and baked goods and really showed us the wonders and splendor of living like an Italian.

Our sincere thanks goes out to the vision of Nicolo & Renata for their herculean efforts in making this place one of the new/old wonders of the world.  The collaboration with Michael & Linda and their expertise took it over the top.  Thank you all.  Ron & Jeri Killian

Dear Nicolo, dear Renata

Please forgive me for using the email but I would rather not wait any longer. With much delay, due to some heavy work schedule and issues related to my parents which took all of my little free time since landing on Sunday, Marina and I would like to thank you and Renata enormously for welcoming us at San Fedele and organizing a wonderful celebration stay. Everyone enjoyed the whole event enormously.

First San Fedele itself was a great setting and having you there welcoming us and making us feel like at home was a great privilege. Everyone was much impressed by you and Renata, and many people mentioned your charisma (!).

Then from the classy welcome aperitivo on Thursday, the delicious dinner, the bike tour, lunch at il Chiostro, the great guides in Siena with the Biondi Santi apartment visit and the stunning view, the perfectly home made dinner on Friday, the intensely fun classic car tour, great lunch at San Felice, numerous activities and your flexibility in accomodating for those activities on Saturday (the hike was really worth it, even in the rain), great dinner in Borgo Scopeto, the amazingly early and generous breakfasts before the stunning Balloon tour, and the Brancaia visit, everything was great and I must say that the combination of all these events was great fun, great pleasure and a great blessing. Of course I wish my parents could have seen this and be part of it. But all my in-laws, less familiar with Italy and Tuscany were amazed.

Last but not least the coordination and the omnipresent minivans were great, and the drivers very nice (there is one driver I forgot to give the tip to, the slightly older one, I feel bad about bit, not sure if anything can be done). It gave a sense of organization to the whole event which was amazing and pleased everyone.

So all in all despite very hostile weather conditions it was a great success and Marina and I look back to these few days with better memories than to the day of our wedding. Many thanks also from the kids who had lots of fun, which for me matters as well.

Of course none of this would have been possible without your dedication and multi-tasking skills. Hence again many many thanks to you and Renata. And apologies for not finding the time to write you before this morning.

Warm regards to you both and Philippo.

See you soon

An Experience At The Tuscan Renaissance Center
Participants impressions of the week

Nestled in the patchwork hills of the Chianti Classico region is Borgo San Fedele, the exquisitely renovated and restored 13th century monastery.  Today, through a partnership with Il Chiostro, a company that successfully brought artistic and cultural workshops to Italy for seventeen years, Borgo San Fedele has been reborn as the Tuscan Renaissance Center, a creative safe house for cultivation of the arts, relationships and new ideas.

An Italian toast, Toccato Uno, Toccato Tutti (You touch One, You touch All) perfectly embodies the mission of the Tuscan Renaissance Center, which provides an ideal environment to nurture openness for individual, group or corporate change. This fertile ground is filled with opportunities to embark on a more meaningful, value-driven life, where each person contributes to making our world a place of greater peace and harmony.

Stone by stone, the external transformation made by owners Nicolo and Renata Strub, courageously revived the spirit of this once abandoned ruin, using all original materials and much heart. Now classified as an Historic Residence, ancient history melds with a rich offering of cultural and artistic workshops designed to access the potential for internal transformation and interpersonal connection.

My experience at the Tuscan Renaissance Center was a life-changing event.  In the safe, supportive setting of the beauty of the Tuscan monastery of San Fedele I was able to rejuvenate my inner strength and touch, explore and nurture my soul. It was a personal Renaissance for me….and everyone contributed to my incredible experience.
(HF, 2010 workshop participant)

From the moment one arrives at the majestic San Fedele gates and enters the tree-lined courtyard, a spirit of gentle, contemplative awe pervades. While every essential comfort exists in support of the transformational journey, it seems as if one enters a time-out-of-time holding space where the possibility to explore both interior and exterior landscapes exists.

San Fedele and my Il Chiostro experience of “Getting Out of Your Head” lovingly provided a safe and caring environment for me to take a good look into a mirror, tap in to my soul and set free a well-spring of energy, joy and creativity.
(CK, 2010 workshop participant)

The week-long programs (conducted in English) provide creative portals for inspiration and growth: culinary arts, sculpture, painting, photography, singing and personal renewal, are only a few of the glorious offerings. For individuals, groups and businesses wishing to live their own personal renaissance surrounded by history, nature and tranquility, the Tuscan Renaissance Center perfectly supports this journey.

As we approached San Fedele I just knew in my heart that I had arrived at a very, very special place indeed. Its peaceful beauty literally brought tears to my eyes — and the magic was ever-present throughout our stay. The experience I had at the Tuscan Renaissance Center came from a wonderful combination of the serenity of the surroundings, the generous Tuscan hospitality of our hosts and the creative and joyful spirit of the people I met in the workshops. I will remember and treasure my experience there forever.
(NJ, 2010 workshop participant)

For me, nurturing the mind, body and soul best represents what I experienced at the Tuscan Renaissance Center. The inspirations for my sculpture are many: The vistas, vast skies, rolling hills and the winding roads that lead to and from San Fedele. The inherent serenity within the interior spaces. The historic architectural design of the monastery with huge open areas, enormous  archways and high ceilings. And the most relevant feature, at San Fedele, is the ever present spiritual essence that wraps around you like a blanket, giving one feelings of comfort, protection and being connected to a higher source.
(PR, 2010 workshop participant)

The deep, resounding gong of the monastery bells,
A singular voice singing the music of the heart at dusk.
The clink of glasses toasting together…
Toccato Uno
Toccato Tutti!
(JL, 2010 workshop participant)